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based upon a false interpretation of some obscure passages of Scripture and a perversion of history? At all events what has Protestantism gained, what can it expect to gain, by such bitter antagonism? The converts made by the abuse of Romanism who are worth any thing may be counted on the fingers; while the number of those who are repelled and alienated by it is beyond calculation. It can only obstruct and put off a reconciliation. If St. Paul on the Areopagus had insulted the Athenians by abusing them as idolators he would not have made any converts; but with a master stroke of Christian wisdom and courtesy, he addressed them as over-religious, who unconsciously worshiped "the unknown God," whom he came to preach to them. The best way of refuting error is to preach the positive truth. Verum est index sui et falsi. The noblest and surest way of converting an enemy is to show him the love whereby Christ has loved and saved us.
Oh! for a pentecostal effusion of the spirit of love which is better than speaking with the tongues of men and angels, better than the gift of prophecy, greater even and more enduring than faith and hope.
The deepest and strongest tendencies of our age, which by its wonderful inventions almost obliterates the distances of time and space and brings the ends of the earth into instantaneous connection, is not towards division but towards reunion. A task as great as the conversion of the world, and apparently as impossible. But all things are possible with God Almighty. He has great surprises for us in store-reformations purer, deeper, broader, than that of Luther and Calvin; yea, pentecosts with more flaming tongues than that of Jerusalem. His wisdom and love will bind together what the folly of men has put asunder. He will heal the wounds of Christendom and melt the hearts of the Churches in the sorrow of a common repentance and in the joy of a common forgiveness, and bring once more a beautiful cosmos out of chaos as in the days of creation. The creeds of the militant Churches will be merged into the one creed of Christ, who is the prince of peace and the divine concord of all
There must and will be one flock and one Shepherd as sure as Christ, who promised it, is the Truth. The sacerdotal prayer must and will be fulfilled, "I in them and thou in Me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and lovedst them even as Thou lovedst Me."
BY JOHN BLAIR LINN, ESQ.
I HAVE chosen for a theme this evening, a brief retrospect of some incidents gathered casually from the history of the century just now concluded with the past, indicative of our progress in political, social and religious well-being. To the providence and care of Almighty God, under a free constitution and government" of the people, by the people and for the people," we owe our marvellous growth in population and our unparalleled progress in the arts of peace, whereby as a republic we stand to-day in the fore-front of the nations of the earth. With the church and school in the formation of the greatness of the United States of America, freedom in religion has not ended in freedom from religion, and equality in law has not ended in independence of law.
Prior to 1787 our national Status was a confederacy of thirteen colonies. "Thirteen staves and ne'er a hoop will never make a barrel," said homely wit. But in 1787 the convention at Philadelphia blotted out the codes of the eastern hemisphere reeking with blood and stained with pillage, and established in their stead the Constitution of the United States of America: and September 2, 1790, a new Constitution was adopted for Pennsylvania; a constitution deservedly considered as an admirable model for a representative state; securing force to the government and freedom to the people.
In 1791 then, our republic was a young empire emerging
* An address delivered before the Alumni Association of Franklin and Marshall College, June 17, 1891.
into an organized existence; a federal government scarcely established, suspended on the slender thread of opinion. Fourteen states, commencing with Delaware and ending with Vermont, had adopted the Federal constitution, and with a population of four millions scattered along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Georgia and as far west as Kentucky, the struggle for existence as a free government began.
In this year of grace 1891, forty-four States "are with a most indissoluble tie forever knit." States not of contracted boundaries as Delaware and Vermont, but for the most part proportionate in territory to Kansas, which is larger in area than New England, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland combined. Over sixty-two millions of people, some from nearly every country on the globe,* welded together by the force and strength of our civilization, inhabit the vast domain of the United States, which measure ten-fold our possessions of 1791. Over this vast domain our laws and our government are omnipotent; the spirit of our people seems to animate the whole western continent, and the monetary credit of the United States is above that of any other nation.
We owe the preservation of our immense territory, intact, to the foresight and diplomatic ability of our statesmen. Early in 1780, while Louisiana was yet a province of Spain, Benjamin Franklin wrote John Jay, "I would not sell a drop of the waters of the Mississippi. A neighbor might as well ask me to sell my street door."
When we look at the map of our country it suggests the thought of one people and one nationality. It is formed physically for the seat of one magnificent republic. The Allegheny flows into the Ohio, the Ohio into the Mississippi, and "the father of floods must go unvexed to the sea." Separate sovereignties could not exist here. History tells us that. In 1755 England held our coast, and France endeavored to secure the banks of the Ohio and the shores of the Missouri, but on
* Ninety-seven nationalities among us, it is said.
the immortal plains of Abraham, the lilies of France went down before the cross of St. George.
There were no natural boundaries between our original States. Our State lines were made in conveyancer's offices, and depended on the patents of kings and the charters of companies, who knew nothing of the bounds and extent of the country they were parcelling. They were run by the surveyor's compass through rivers and over the tops of mountains and the states could not remain divided, but must have some great embracing bond. Time wove this band and the constitution. of 1787 girded State sovereignties with that band in the memorable declaration; "We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America; " and history has written our government ordained of God.
When therefore the Secessionists lifted arms against such a government, they inaugurated an unholy and unchristian insurrection, and the men who fell at South Mountain, Antietam and Gettysburg, in a never dying appeal in favor of right and religion, defending the soil of their native State from the inroad of rebel invaders, were as truly martyrs as the early Christians or the Huguenots, "who kissed the flames that drank their blood and chased their souls to Heaven." History has enrolled Meade's grand master-stroke for the union among the world's great battles, and the statue of Gen. John F. Reynolds stands gloriously upon the watch-tower on Cemetery Ridge, guarding as it were the bivouac of his compatriot dead.
We cannot overestimate the rare genius of the statesman, Abraham Lincoln; the indomitable energy of that man of iron, the great war secretary, Edwin M. Stanton, or the brilliant services of Grant, Sherman, Thomas, Sheridan, Hancock, our own Hartranft* and others. A fitting eulogy of their worth
* Gov. Hartranft was a member of the Sophomore class of 1850-51, Marshall College.